Charles Christopher Spielman (born October 11, 1965) is a former American football player and is currently an analyst for ESPN’s coverage of college football games.
Spielman graduated from Washington High School in Massillon, Ohio, where he was awarded the Dial Award for the national high-school scholar-athlete of the year in 1983. He is a 1988 graduate of the Ohio State University with a degree in recreation education. He was a two-time All-American, and won the Lombardi Award as the best college football lineman or linebacker. Spielman was drafted 29th in the 1988 NFL Draft, by the Detroit Lions. He played eight seasons with the Lions where he led the team in tackles each year. Spielman was a four-time Pro Bowler during his years with the Lions. Spielman played for the Buffalo Bills in 1996 and 1997. In 1996, he set a team and personal record with 206 tackles. His 1997 season was limited because of a neck injury that required spinal surgery. Spielman did not play during the 1998 season, taking time off to be with his family during his wife’s battle with breast cancer. He returned to the NFL in the 1999 season, with the Cleveland Browns. He retired before the regular season began, after suffering another neck injury. Spielman is also notable for being one of the players notable NFL Draft “guru” Mel Kiper, Jr. has “missed” on, Kiper admitting in a 2001 post that he had underrated the linebacker. In April of 2009 Speilman was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Spielman’s broadcasting career started in 1999, as an NFL studio-show analyst for Fox Sports Net. After two years with FSN, Spielman joined ESPN in 2001. He serves as a color analyst for college football broadcasts, as well as studio analysts for college football. Spielman has won praise from some broadcasting peers, including Sports Illustrated’s Dr. Z, who wrote that “…Chris Spielman will come up with some startlingly accurate observations too.”
Spielman is also a contributor to the Columbus, Ohio based FM radio station 97.1 The Fan; 97.1 is an ESPN Radio affiliate. When not on assignment for ESPN, Spielman is a co-host of the 1-3pm show called The Big Show, along with Bruce Hooley and Kirk Herbstreit. He is a former co-host of the 12-2pm show “Spielman on Sports” with Mike Ricordati. In various shows of Spielman on Sports, Spielman has announced his admiration for the bull Bodacious. His admiration for the deceased rodeo bull inspired Eddie George’s Grille 27 to name a drink after it, naming it Spielman’s Bodacious Bull. Its contents are bloody mary mix, tabasco sauce, and steak sauce. Spielman also appears every Tuesday afternoon on AM 1270 WXYT, a sports-talk radio station in Detroit.
Spielman also served as a color analyst for the Detroit Lions during the preseason. In 2006, Spielman hosted a reality series on ESPNU called Summer House.
Spielman is known for occasionally yelling “nice!” during broadcasts of games or during his radio show.
Spielman was the coach of the Columbus Destroyers, an Arena Football League team, in 2005. He coached one season, compiling a 2-14 record.
Spielman and his wife, Stefanie, have four children, Madison, Noah, Macy and Audrey. Stefanie is a breast cancer survivor, and both she and Chris are active in raising funds for breast cancer research. While undergoing treatment Stefanie had lost her hair, at which time Chris voluntarily shaved his head in support of his wife. The Spielmans reside in Upper Arlington, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. He is the younger brother of current Minnesota Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman.